If no one sees your website, does it really exist? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about being seen by the right people. SEO helps bring together potential clients and the most relevant businesses to their queries.
Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Optimization is a constantly evolving space and a large one at that. How well your website performs within Google search is impacted by numerous factors within a multitude of categories.
Fear not. If you want to learn more about these, you’re in the right place.
Here are our top tips for improving your Google SEO performance in 2019.
We’ve all been there. You click on a search result thinking it’s going to be exactly what you’re looking for, only for it take forever to load. You clicked out of it and definitely won’t be back.
With our busy lives and everything moving at the speed of light, visitors have come to expect a fast loading site. Google knows this and ranks faster loading pages higher than those that are slower.
People tend to stay on sites longer and have better conversion rates when pages load faster. Google wants to suggest pages that will not only give the user the most relevant result but also, the best overall experience. Speed plays a major role in this.
There are many ways to improve your site’s speed. Here are a few suggestions:
Importantly, there are tools that can help you measure and monitor your speed such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Using a tool like this regularly will help keep you informed of any lag issues. Plus, there is an added bonus to using Google’s tools. More on that later.
How long do people stay on your site? What are they doing once they get there? Google monitors and measures a variety of metrics to determine how engaged users are on your site. The results of these metrics influence your SEO performance. Some of these key metrics include:
How long a visitor stays on a page before leaving. Obviously, the goal here is to have a longer dwell time. We want people to stay on our page as it signals to Google that they have found valuable, relevant content there. Google in turn, ranks sites with long dwell times higher, making your site more visible to future visitors.
For SEO purposes, this is how often users click on your page from a set of search results. The more frequently this occurs, the higher your site moves up on the list and the more traffic you get.
Just like in hospitality and restaurants, return visits are a good thing on Google, too. Google monitors how often a user returns to your site after having visited it already. This, like dwell time, signals to Google that there is highly valuable, highly relevant content that lives there.
Improving engagement is all about giving something of value to the user. On websites, this really means providing quality content.
According to Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium, a pay-per-performance Google SEO service, content is the most crucial and yet most overlooked aspect of SEO he sees.
“We’re amazed at how little and such badly written content our customers have when they come to us. We invest heavily in their website’s content and we reap the results for them.”
“Content is king”. If you have ever spent time in the marketing world, you have likely heard this phrase. The reason for that is people come to your site looking for something. The best and most valuable thing you can give them is quality content. As stated above, it gives them a reason to stay on your site longer and interact with your site more thus, improving your SEO performance.
More than that, however, high quality content allows you to:
Users see valuable content as a major legitimizing factor to a business. So, even beyond SEO, content makes for a great starting point in facilitating trust between you and a potential client.
Having a killer blog post on your site about a topic people care about increases the likelihood of them sharing it on their social media. Not only does this improve your overall exposure, opening your content up to their captive audience, Google also takes note when this happens.
Slapping words up with abandon is not the answer here. For your SEO content strategy to work, you first must determine what makes “good” content from an SEO standpoint.
Ensure that your content is specialized. Provide content that speaks to your expertise and to what your business focuses on. Not only does this improve engagement, it boosts your SEO performance by ensuring you are truly answering a question.
This can feel counterintuitive, in that the more general something is the more applicable it is to a wider swath of people. However, in the case of SEO, we want to create content for niche segments of people who are searching for something specific.
Google cares about how precisely they answer a query, so providing precise, expert content is the way to go. This is also how you position your content to contain the most valuable keywords for your site in the most natural way.
Long-form content performs better. Again, not exactly what you may have been told, right? Many people are under the impression that shorter is better. We have been sucked into the slogany, snippety world of old, and when it comes to SEO that just does not fly. Why?
Video is one of the most underutilized forms of content on most websites. While text is overall the most important when it comes to SEO, video is essential for several reasons.
Images are an important piece of the content puzzle. People like to see relevant and high quality images in the content they read. Having the right images within a content piece has been proven to increase the probability of it being both read and remembered later.
Beyond compression and optimization, there are several best practices to consider when using images on your site. One important best practice is to create custom file names for the images you use. Doing so allows you to associate the best keywords with your image, further improving your site’s alignment with ideal keyword terms.
When reading content online we need to aim for readability. The easier something is to read, the higher chance that a user will stay with it longer. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to share or interact meaningfully with your site. Here are some simple ways to improve the readability of your content:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. By keeping thoughts simple and clear, we allow the reader to easily follow along and comprehend our content.
Use headers, subheaders, bold or italicized text to show hierarchy. Using these indicators provides an easy to follow structure that leads the reader and helps them make transitions.
Beyond the basics, there are methods that can lend a major assist to your SEO game. SEO professionals have many ways of doing this. Within the SEO industry, methods tend to fall under “Black-Hat”, “Gray-Hat” or “White-Hat” practices.
You don’t want to talk to the man in the black, or gray hat.
Black-hat SEO is all about tricking Google’s algorithm by attempting to improve your SEO performance without actually adding real value to your site. In other words, it’s the shortcut attempt.
As Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium puts it, “Black-hat SEO is like robbing the bank. It’s exciting. It’s fast. You get results quickly. But the risk is that your site will get killed in the process – sooner or later. So would your content and domain. Then you have to start over again.”
Don’t try to outsmart the Google’s algorithm. Work with it.
Applying best practices like those found in this article, is known as “White-Hat”. By making your site more useful and useable, you achieve honest, long-term gains.
Content Clustering is a way to optimize SEO within your own site by leveraging Google’s rewarding of niche content. You choose a content piece to be the pillar, the piece from which others will be developed.
Once you have your pillar piece, you create cluster content that is spun off from the pillar piece’s content, much like subtopics. The pillar piece links to the cluster pieces and the cluster content links back to the pillar piece.
As one or more of the articles performs well, so do the others thanks to the link within the pieces. This causes a larger boost than just one high performing, unlinked article.
Did the title of this article have you double-checking your calendar? If so, you unconsciously noted an example of Preemptive SEO. What is Preemptive SEO and why should you do it?
This is akin to the “big fish, small pond” and it’s counter-reality. A lot of articles and blogs are written with trends in mind. However, there are a whole lot of marketers out there who jump on the same trends at the same time. This creates a lot of competition around content geared toward the same trends.
Preemptive SEO calls for you to think ahead. While trying to predict the next big trend is great if you are able, something as simple as including an advanced year in the title can make a big difference.
Long seen as the forgettable social media platform, Google Plus is a great way to see major gains in your SEO performance. Google rewards your site when you use Google Plus. The best way to do this is to paste all the social media content you post elsewhere for your business into Google Plus along with a link to your site.
The reason you do not need to be overly concerned about using unique content here is that it’s not a popular platform. In other words, this is almost purely targeted to Google and not to your audience. Although, you never know, you may gain some new exposure here, too.
Google rewards your site for using Google tools. Lucky for you, many of the Google tools are not only free, they are extremely useful in helping you manage your site and SEO performance. Checkout Google Search Console and Google Business for a start.
Running a business is time consuming and challenging. So is SEO. Not only is SEO an incredibly complex, layered topic, it is also constantly evolving and changing.
Many business owners find that hiring a team of SEO experts saves them time and gets them far superior results. If you feel this may be the best option for you and your business, go with a pay-per-performance company. This way, you are only paying for results, not promises.
I hope you found these tips useful. Implementing these will help boost your SEO performance now and into next year.
If you would like to read more about SEO best practices and the changes it has undergone, please check out this excellent piece from August.
© 2018 Millionairium. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium is credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.